As a part of UCD Student Union’s Rainbow week, LGBT Soc held a panel discussion on the state of Transgender Healthcare in Ireland. As a part of the panel, Laurence McCann spoke about how they had recently begun their transition, and how difficult it was to get to this point. Under current Irish legislation, McCann said that it was easier to begin transitioning while under the age of 18 as a result of the fact that parents could then give consent. This was because greater weight was given to parents consent for a minor than the requests of an adult.
Additionally, McCann noted that there was a great inconsistency between accessing healthcare in the public and private system. They said that the waiting list in the public system is long and only grows shorter when someone drops off it. A.E. Quinn another speaker on the panel noted that the setbacks can be incredibly draining. The extended use of hormone blockers which was a common first step in transitioning was highlighted as a consequence. This could according to them, result in anxiety, as the hormonal balance of the body was put off without being replaced.
Both speakers pointed out how the current system can leave many trapped, even if they manage to get past the hurdles of even getting past assessments. Many people report that they felt the need to lie in their assessments in order to appear masculine or feminine enough for their doctors to believe them.
One point of discussion on the panel was the distinction between the public and private access. It was said that the public system discouraged anyone from going private, overstating the costs of the system, and making it seem like it was less efficient. However, McCann said that they had successfully gone private, and although it was certainly more expensive and perhaps not accessible for all, the system as a whole seemed to move much faster.
By Aaron Bowman – CoEditor